The purpose of this article is to give you a clear, easy-to-follow roadmap on how to put together a solid marketing plan for oil & gas companies that genuinely understand the value that a powerful, highly-targeted marketing plan can bring to their business.
So, let’s get started.
Create a Marketing Plan
The first step in the process is to create a marketing plan. Now, it is important to stress that this plan is not a sales plan – it is a plan to grow your business, through effective marketing activities. If you sell perfume, you would not create a perfume sales plan – you would create a plan to grow your business through perfume marketing. The same applies to oil & gas.
As the name implies, the marketing plan is used to develop marketing activities. You would use the plan to map out the various components of your marketing strategy, including the following four pillars:
Your product is the thing that you are selling. For oil & gas companies, the product is usually oil or gas – but it can also be a service that you offer (e.g., drilling or completion services).
The most important thing to keep in mind about your product is that it has to be useful or desirable. People need to be willing to pay for your product or service. While this may seem obvious, it is amazing how many small businesses sell products and services that are more like a good idea than a well-executed product. These types of products usually do not generate much interest, let alone revenue. Good execution often times is what makes the difference between a successful business and an average one.
What is the price of your product? Is it consistent across all markets? How much does it cost to produce? The answers to these questions form the basis of your sales price. Once you have determined the price, you can calculate the cost of goods sold and arrive at a gross margin. The price of your product is probably the single most important factor, aside from marketing, in determining your company’s success or failure.
Where will you sell your product? This is usually dictated by the demand for your product. If there is high consumer demand for your product, then you will naturally want to sell it to those places – i.e., the locations where people can easily find it. If you want to grow your business, you have to be present in as many of these locations as possible. The good news is that there are a variety of options for selling your product – ranging from online marketplaces to physical stores. The key is to find a way to reach your audience where they are so that you can effectively communicate your business’s value proposition and convince them to try your product or service.
How will you promote your product? In the case of oil & gas, the answer is typically through some type of advertising, whether it is traditional media (i.e., print, radio, or TV ads), or online advertising (i.e., marketing on social media platforms like Google and Facebook or blog posts and articles on websites like Medium and LinkedIn).
Traditional advertising can be costly, but it tends to have high reach (e.g., radio spots for major national brands are typically heard by hundreds of thousands of people) and it is very measurable (i.e., you can track the results of your ad campaigns in terms of sales and website traffic). However, social media advertising is less expensive and can have higher conversion rates (i.e., the number of people who actually buy your product or service after seeing your ad).
Let’s say that you run a digital marketing agency and you represent a digital agency that specializes in SEO (search engine optimization) services. You have a client who is interested in purchasing an SEO campaign for their brand. One of your responsibilities as the digital marketing agency is to create a marketing plan, which includes a proposal for the sale of the SEO campaign. After reviewing the proposal, you determine that the cost of the proposed campaign is within their budget. One of the questions that you will need to ask yourself is which form of traditional advertising (i.e., radio ads or magazine spreads) would be most effective in terms of driving qualified leads to your client’s website.
To learn more about the process of creating a marketing plan, read our an accompanying article, which includes a primer on planning for oil & gas companies, or visit our marketing plan section on our website.
How will you know if your efforts are successful? The answer to this question forms the basis of your marketing plan. You need to have a clear idea of what metrics should be used to determine your success or failure. Once you establish key performance indicators (KPIs), you can track your company’s growth, on a daily basis, throughout the year, using your web analytics tool of choice (e.g., Google Analytics).
KPIs can be any measurable activity, such as the following:
- New customers
- Product purchases
- Website traffic
- Social media engagement (e.g., retweets, likes, and follows)
- Position in search engine rankings
- Word of mouth (e.g., referrals, testimonials, and compliments)
- Visitors to your physical location (i.e., store, restaurant, or gallery)
- Loyalty program sign-ups
- Job applications
- Donations made to non-profit organizations
- Phone calls
- Blog posts read
- Papers published
- Online courses completed
You should choose your KPIs carefully; they will form the basis of your marketing efforts and, as a result, affect your company’s growth. The ideal situation is to have a mixture of hard numbers and analysis along with the subjective opinions of people who are knowledgeable about your industry (e.g., customers, analysts, and journalists).
Update As Necessary
This plan is not complete until you have made revisions, as necessary. You must continually revise the plan, as new information becomes available. You can find a detailed explanation of the plan as it stands, and how to make revisions, in our marketing plan section on our website. You must follow the same process, outlined above, to create new versions of the plan as new information comes in. Having a well-thought-out and well-drafted plan can significantly increase your odds of becoming a successful entrepreneur.